Journal Project

Journal Project registration

Reflect during your first year at Harvard

The goal of the Journal Project is to encourage ongoing reflective practice during your first year.

If you are a first-year student who wants to participate, we will give you a journal and you will receive weekly prompts to reflect about your experience at Harvard. While we provide journals to all first-year students, we know there are multiple ways for you to reflect - through writing, art, movement, music, or spoken word among many and encourage you to reflect using whatever form of expression you prefer. We hope to invite moments of reflection in your busy lives through the prompts and other reflective opportunities.

The Journal Project is intended to be one way to encourage you to slow down and consider key questions during your first year. We also invite your Peer Advising Fellows and Proctors to actively participate and choose to use the prompts in their entryways and during individual discussions.

More Information

Why is reflective practice important?

Not only is a reflective practice conducive to health and wellness, it also enhances the learning process. While most collegiate learning focuses on moving from the concrete to the abstract, this program is informed by Seymour Papert's (1993) challenge of "an epistemological reversion" by inviting you to engage in "constructionism." We encourage you to write, draw, digitally design, and/or perform responses to reflection prompts throughout the year - whatever works best for you!

Reflecting regularly also helps increase your agency. As HGSE professor and Papert pupil Karen Brennan (2013) writes: "Designers of learning environments who aim to support the development of learner agency...introduce possibilites, encourage experimentation, support access to resources, cultivate connections with others, and create opportunities for reflection." This program aims to fulfill Brennan's assertion that reflection "involves both cognitive and affective dimensions of learning experiences" (p. 200).

We want to provide opportunities for you to engage regularly in the practice of pausing and reflecting on your first year at Harvard College. The intention of this practice is to move away from extrinsic motivators (such as grades or awards) and toward a your intrinsic sense of identity and purpose (Deci and Ryan, 1985). You will be encouraged to take ownership over and personalize your own reflective experience. This will take the form of weekly reflective prompts and occasional opportunities for you to share your reflections if you wish.

How can first-year students participate?

You can sign up to participate and pick up a journal in the following locations:

Who creates the journal prompts?

Students know the Harvard College student experience best, and the prompts are generated by Peer Advising Fellows and staff who work with first-year students. You can suggest a reflective question by emailing

Can upper-level students participate?

Yes! While we are providing journals and reflective opportunities to first-year students, any student can opt into this regular practice and sign up by contacting

Questions about the Journal Project?

Contact our staff